Curse of the Crimson Throne
In order to maximize its profits gained from ship-borne cargo, House Leroung began the practice of hiring halfling sailors (the house also experimented with gnome sailors, but that ended poorly). Halflings require less than half as much space and food, so House Leroung reasoned it could use that extra space for additional cargo. The other houses (with the pointed exception of House Arkona) bought these halfling-sized ships from Leroung and filled their crews with halfling sailors. Today, nearly half the ships that belong to the city’s elite are sized for and crewed by halflings.